MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After losing again over the weekend, the questions surrounding the Miami Heat ahead of the playoffs are growing as the team tries to stop a streak of seven losses in the last 11 games.
The Heat has problems defensively, have problems scoring, and according to Chris Bosh, lack passion and communication between teammates. Bosh was specifically referring to no one standing up in the locker room and demanding everyone get on the same page.
“We’re not expressing ourselves in the locker room or on the court,” Bosh said, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald. “So I figure I’ll be the first one to say we [stink], and we need to turn it around. And if we don’t play better, we’ll be watching the championship at home.”
Bosh’s teammate LeBron James put it another way saying, “Too many excuses. Everything is an excuse. We do something wrong? It’s an excuse. We don’t get a stop. It’s an excuse. We turn the ball over, it’s an excuse. We’ve got to own what we’re doing right now and what we’re doing ain’t good enough.”
If you want some numbers to quantify what James and Bosh are qualitatively saying, look no further than the team’s offensive and defensive rating along with the team’s pace.
Miami has an offensive rating of 109.6 (Best in the NBA), which ranks points produced per 100 possessions. Miami’s defensive rating is 103.3 (12th best in the NBA). But, opponents are also scoring nearly 99 points per game, which is the highest in the Big Three era in Miami.
The Heat is also struggling with individual performances. James is averaging a much lower win-share per 48 minutes than in year’s past and only two players on the team have a player efficiency rating higher than 20 (James and Dwyane Wade).
This all comes despite James, Wade, and Bosh shooting better than 52 percent from the floor including LeBron shooting 57 percent overall. However, if you move LeBron past 10 feet from the basket, his shooting drops to 40 percent and down to 38 percent from 16 feet to the three-point line.
Where Miami is struggling is free throws made and attempted (in the bottom half of the league in both categories) and on the offensive and defensive glass. Miami is ranked dead last in offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, and total rebounds this season.
Losing like the Heat has in the last two weeks takes a team effort and no one is without blame on the Heat roster. It could be a combination of the grind of playing so many games over the past three years along with any other number of factors.
The Heat play the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night in Miami before heading to Indiana for a showdown game that will likely determine what team gets home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Pacers are young, hungry, and ready to dethrone the Heat. If the Heat can’t figure out what ails them fast, then Bosh’s prediction may come true faster than fans think.
But remember, the Heat was written off in the first year of the Big Three era when the team started out at .500. A team meeting later and Miami was off and running towards the first of three straight NBA Finals.
If the Heat makes it to the Finals again this year, the team will have earned it. No team has made it to the Finals in four straight seasons since the Boston Celtics in the 1980’s. Miami is looking to duplicate that, but is dealing with adversity now that will either sink the team or send it to new heights again.